Friends and relatives of men killed on building site mourn tragic loss

Scene where two men from NI were killed on an Australian construction site. (ABC News: Laura Gartry)
Scene where two men from NI were killed on an Australian construction site. (ABC News: Laura Gartry)

Friends and relatives of the two men from Northern Ireland killed on an Australian building site have spoken of their sense of loss following the tragedy.

Gerry Bradley from the Coleraine area and Joseph McDermott from Omagh, who were both in their 20s, are understood to have died when a concrete panel fell on them in Perth on Wednesday morning.

Fr Brendan Mulhall, parish priest of St Malachy’s in Coleraine has spoken with relatives of Mr Bradley and says they are “devastated”, but thankful for the support and condolences expressed.

“He was a very popular, kind, caring, generous young man with a great future ahead of him, and it’s just so sad that this has been snuffed out by this awful tragedy.”

Fr Mulhall added: “I’ve heard so many things about him today and all of them positive.”

Mr Bradley’s brother Gregory said the tragedy had robbed his family of “one of the happiest people” you could ever meet.

“It is impossible to describe the hurt and loss we are all feeling now,” he added.

Mr McDermott had worked for 10 years at the Silverbirch Hotel in Omagh, where his former manager described him as having been “a massive part of our working lives here”.

Carla Hosie told the BBC: “He was such a vivacious character - he was a cheeky charmer who got away with everything because he was so charming.

“He practically grew up here with the guys, and it’s just simply devastating.”

Matthew Sweeney, who also worked with Mr McDermott, said: “Joe was always kind of the head barman even before he got the title, and as soon as a shift started he’d come in and make everyone smile straight away and feel at home.”

A number of floral tributes have been placed at the building site where the men worked for the JAXON construction company.